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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 2, 2009 8:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

(Apologies for the bump, I edited to add links.)

This post is in response to someone who said he skipped all 1972 shows that didn't have a Dark Star or Other I thought I'd talk a bit about the shows that didn't have an obvious Big Jam in the second sets.

1972 found the Dead, as always, in development - Keith had moved in, Pigpen was heading out - and a whole bunch of new songs had been added. But in general, they were 'little' songs, so that the set-II jams tended to revolve around Dark Star or Other One just as they had back in '68 - more extended jam-songs wouldn't get added until the Wake of the Flood debuts in '73.
As a result, most shows from '72 (especially after Pigpen leaves) have pretty similar setlists, with just a few things rearranged here and there. I'll concede that fall '71 shows without any big jams are pretty disappointing (something like two-hour first-sets), and I avoid those myself.
However, there was much more jamming in '72 than there had been in '71 shows, as the Dead found new places to build jams in. First was Playing in the Band, which had been rather flat and stodgy in '71, with just a few moments of syncopated spaciness in the solo before returning quickly to the theme - but we find right away in March '72, they'd rethought the song and put a blazing jam in the middle, which got longer and longer through the year until Playing became a half-hour monster.
Not Fade Away also benefited sometimes from longer jams - once Goin' Down the Road had been added in late '70, NFA shrunk down to a brief four-minute bookend - but in the fall of '71 the Dead started jamming their NFAs again, and this trend continued into '72 (not always, but on many nights).
Bird Song also saw a triumphant revival in summer '72 - the Dead had dropped it for some reason when Keith joined (even though they'd rehearsed it with him in October '71) - and this became a first-set highlight of many shows. (But sadly, they dropped it yet again in September '73, not to be heard again until 1980.)
Truckin' had just a short little outro jam in early '71, but once they found that they could segue it into the Other One (usually via a drum solo), the Truckin' jam got longer and longer, and by '72 they usually dropped the chorus reprise as well in the fervor of the jams. (The Truckin' jam would become even more extended and unpredictable in the next two years, of course.)
Also, He's Gone was introduced in the Europe tour as a peppy little song, but by the fall it started slowing down, and the outro jam became its own thing of beauty, which as often as not could also lead into the Other One.
In short, even though the unique jam themes of '73 and '74 hadn't arrived yet, there were still plenty of jams going on - and if you were to overlook all the shows in which they took a break from Dark Star and the Other One, these would be some of the things you'd miss....

1/2/72 - a unique Good Lovin'>China Cat>Good Lovin', very well-done.

3/5/72 - another big Good Lovin' with an early Mind Left Body jam. Deadlists notes, "Garcia is particularly rippin'."

3/22/72 - the return of Caution, not heard since 3/18/71. The Caution itself is not as notable as the sweet melodic jam that ends it.
(This show isn't circulating in sbd, but the Caution was released on a bonus disc.)

3/25/72 - the Good Lovin' and Lovelight are missing from this night (perhaps they're in the Vault?), but we do have the last Smokestack Lightning, a couple one-time-only songs, plus the Bo Diddley set which is pretty neat.
(Highlights on Dicks Picks 30, or an AUD for masochists - )

3/26, 3/27/72 - the Good Lovin' from each of these nights is on the Taper's Section over at - otherwise there's not much reason to check out the available AUDs, which are horrible.
3-26-72, by the way, is the only Other One from the year that's still completely uncirculated; the AUD only has the first set. (Good Lovin' and Playing from 3/26) (Good Lovin' from 3/27, and several other Academy of Music selections)

7/22/72 - I admit, you wouldn't miss much from this night, though there are a few highlights (the newly introduced Bird Song, a youthful Playing, and a rare standalone Morning Dew; which were all released as bonus tracks to 7/21/72). I don't recall the odd set-II medley of Truckin>He's Gone>Sugar Magnolia as being too special.
(No longer on the Archive.)

10/2/72 - a great freeform Truckin' jam that goes from one theme to another (including Nobody's Fault and Feelin' Groovy) on its way to Morning Dew. The first set also has a Bird Song and Playing in their full fall-'72 glory.

10/17/72 - once again, a fine Bird Song and Playing. The second set is strangely truncated, and other than the NFA seems more like another first set.

10/30/72 - a good-sounding AUD with a giant Truckin' jam which, surprisingly, just ends after 15 minutes. The first-set Playing and Bird Song are both sadly cut. Bear recorded this, so it's one of the best AUDs of the year. The second set is full of rockers....perhaps because they were in Detroit?

11/12/72 - the first show in which Playing in the Band was the second-set centerpiece. (The first set had a Bird Song and another long standalone Truckin'.) This show is notorious for its poor mix, in which you can basically only hear the guitars - so it's interesting for those who want to study the guitar interplay.

11/15, 11/18/72 - the twin monster Playing in the Bands are more than enough reason to check out these shows. - used to be incomplete, but Miller has recently given us the whole set. - often said to be the best-ever Playing in the Band.

11/24/72 - aside from another phenomenal Playing and a hot Truckin', this show has perhaps the best Not Fade Away of '72. This show is notable for being one of the most rocked-out of the year, with hardly a slow song in sight.

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2009-12-03 04:40:38

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Poster: deadmax Date: Dec 3, 2009 6:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

Thanks LiA, you know I'm in the middle of Europe 72 right now and, of course, enjoying the heck out of it. I've promised myself that I will listen in order so I can see some of the progressions of which you speak.

Yes, the setlists are a bit repetitious but the playing is just outstanding. I'm tending to see, though, that the first sets while they are very good don't have outstanding songs in them save a few. I'm almost to the point of skipping them just to get to the meat so I can do my review on it.

What do you think about that?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 3, 2009 10:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

Well, deadmax....don't I remember you asking for just the best Europe '72 shows to listen to, since you couldn't go through them all? Looks like you've been bitten by the '72 bug....

It's funny you ask about first sets, since my post actually originated in a discussion about first sets - "how worthwhile are they? how great is a show if the first set is dispensible?"

Personally, I don't listen to whole shows much anymore, so I'm perhaps not the one to ask. All the Europe '72 first sets are well-done & very consistent - and long, too, at fifteen songs or so; of course there is a lot of repetition (more or less the same songs every night), but Pigpen's still there with his songs, so there's more variety (and organ) than in the fall of '72.
Perhaps it depends on your attachment to the individual songs - I feel Good Lovin' and Playing in the Band (usually first-set songs) are always highlights. Given that they could have released many of these first sets as-is without any doctoring, but there isn't much difference in the short songs from night to night, I'd feel free to pick & choose, or perhaps select a couple of your favorite or best-sounding shows to listen to the entire set.
5/26, by the way, has the only first-set NFA; and at those last Strand Lyceum shows, Playing in the Band was finally breaking out of the ten-minute barrier and becoming spacier.

As far as how the jams develop through the tour - it's almost like the Dead were rehearsing in-between every show, there's a definite change. In the Stars at least, the April shows start out strong and driving, then by May they're getting much more spacy & loopy. Perhaps you'll notice something like this, if you try, say, 4/8 and 5/25 back-to-back.

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Poster: deadmax Date: Dec 3, 2009 11:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

Very nice and as I suspected. I haven't heard a 1st set from this tour that I didn't like and wouldn't listen to again. But ALL of them are strong and well-played which makes it hard to pick out songs that contain "it". They just don't have it in the first set as they did in 76 for example.

I'm looking at all the songs(music) in the 2nd set for the sheer joy and musicianship of it and finding plenty to love. 4/16 just bowled me over and I don't think I've ever listened to it when I knew that's what I was listening to.

72 and 73 are my last two years that I don't have a handle on as far as the progression through the years themselves. It was FTLShawn at another board who got me to jump on the 72 bus but he was pointing at the Fall Tour. I just figured it would be fun to start at the beginning of the year and see what leads up to that tour.

I was pleasantly surprised with 1/2 and 3/5 as well.

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Poster: user unknown Date: Dec 2, 2009 8:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

No apology necessary. This, after all a Grateful Dead Forum and your posts are always both entertaining and informative. And you just brought us back to reality.

This post was modified by user unknown on 2009-12-03 04:49:39

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 2, 2009 5:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

You really do stay above it all, which is something special; in fact, you, Miss D, Arbuthnot...the list is not very long of folks that don't muck it up every once in while.

Here's to you three! That's a pretty special group, to me anyway.

Been spending a LOT of time with DP2 and 2/13-14 and the other DS you sent me off to last week...great fun. I think in fact, per your helpful comments, that Bob often (?) initiates transitions BEFORE Jerry, as you noted for the one...9/ DP2, I am almost sure at the 9 min mark of DS, well before it actually happens, Bob hits one chord (? is that what you call it?) that sounds exactly like he's suggesting SugMag...

Anyhow, thanks again...

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Poster: hippie64 Date: Dec 1, 2009 9:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

Thanx for sending some badly needed kindness our way LiA, The majority of the bands shows from from the early 70's are a mystery to me, I dont get an oppurtunity to stream shows here very often so my downloading is some what hit and miss, but this helps greatly in finding killer material from 72,
I'm thinking that I'll start w/ the November shows you mentioned, being very interested in the Playin jams. Thanx a ton man I had almost given up wonderin where to find musical information regarding the GD.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows


Thanks for yet another useful, thought-provoking post. I've been spending a lot of time on fall of '73 lately, and these nuggets should provide some additional background/context outside of the more famous shows from '72 that we all know and love. I might quibble slightly with the idea that 11/18 Houston is "overlooked" as I've always felt that the insane "Playin'" alone gave the show a high profile, but that's nitpicking.

The forum is going through one of its periodic swims in the internet sewer at the moment, but posts like this help keep its head above water. Thanks again.

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Poster: amosearle Date: Dec 2, 2009 4:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Overlooked 1972 Shows

Thanks LIA. Your history lessons and insights are always appreciated. My listening time is limited these days, but when I can jump into it, your suggestions are always a great start for exploring.